Artist Peter Laughton’s paintings of sea and shore explore the movement and beauty of the skies overhead. To see more of his stunning seascapes, please visit his website.
I painted my first significant watercolors almost thirty-five years ago. Since then I’ve attempted to juggle a professional design career with painting. In 2010, I sailed single-handedly from Boston to Florida, abandoning much of the corporate world and financial security in favor of having more time to paint.
My objective was to develop my work from small watercolors to using oils almost exclusively for my large paintings of seascapes and landscapes. My early work was heavily influenced by a well-known artist in New England. She became my mentor and friend who offered helpful, honest critiques of my work.
As I became more confident, I developed a more personal style which continues to evolve. I fully intend to keep pushing the envelope by developing new, fresh techniques and appealing subject matter.
It is not enough to just paint a seascape; it needs to be infused with my emotion and my energy. I want my audience to feel and respond to that.
This body of new work has evolved slowly from a mostly impressionistic style to one that is a bit more abstract. This difference is achieved largely through unusual textural innovations in otherwise uniform surfaces.
I have found that layering very wet layers of paint and tilting the canvas to allow for a degree of blending has resulted in some unusual textures as the layers dry. The challenge is that the outcomes are not always predictable.
It usually takes a few tries to achieve the right combination of color and layering. Only when it is almost dry can I see the result. The beauty of oil paint is that I can then go back and rework areas before the paint fully dries.
When I start a canvas, no matter the size, I usually have no idea what will evolve beyond deciding that it will be a sea or landscape. All my work is drawn from my imagination and memory, which is fueled by the incredible world around me.
Every walk on the beach and every ride inland leave complex impressions that somehow become the ingredients of inspiration. I usually start a painting with the sky. This often sets the mood.
The hardest part for me is deciding what belongs below that defining horizon line.